Export Controls:

Clarification of Jurisdiction for Missile Technology Items Needed

GAO-02-120: Published: Oct 9, 2001. Publicly Released: Nov 8, 2001.

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The U.S. government has long been concerned about the growing threat posed by the proliferation of missiles and related technologies that can deliver weapons of mass destruction. The United States is working with other countries through the Missile Technology Control Regime to control the export of missile-related items. The Departments of Commerce and State share primary responsibility for controlling exports of Regime items. The Commerce Department is required to control Regime items that are dual-use on its export control list--the Commerce Control List. All other Regime items are to be controlled by the State Department on its export control list--the U.S. Munitions List. However, the two departments have not clearly established which of them has jurisdiction for almost 25 percent of the items the United States agreed to control. The Departments disagree on how to determine which Regime items are controlled by Commerce and which are controlled by State. Consultations between the departments about respective control lists have not resolved these jurisdiction issues. Unclear jurisdiction may result in the same Regime item being subject to different export control restrictions and processes at the two departments.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Commerce Department has not jointly reviewed the Missile Technology Control Regime Annex with the State Department, nor has it revised its export control list to ensure clear jurisdiction.

    Recommendation: To ensure that proposed exports of Missile Technology Control Regime items are subject to the appropriate review process, the Secretaries of Commerce and State should direct the offices responsible for the Commerce Control List and the U.S. Munitions List, in consultation with others as appropriate, to jointly review the Regime Annex, determine the appropriate jurisdiction for items on the Annex, and revise their respective export control lists accordingly.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: While a senior State Department official has indicated that the department plans to implement the recommendation, the State Department has not jointly reviewed the Missile Technology Control Regime Annex with the Commerce Department and has not revised its export control list to ensure clear jurisdiction.

    Recommendation: To ensure that proposed exports of Missile Technology Control Regime items are subject to the appropriate review process, the Secretaries of Commerce and State should direct the offices responsible for the Commerce Control List and the U.S. Munitions List, in consultation with others as appropriate, to jointly review the Regime Annex, determine the appropriate jurisdiction for items on the Annex, and revise their respective export control lists accordingly.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Commerce Department has not revised the Commerce Control List to specify parameters or provide cross-references to the U.S. Munitions List for all Missile Technology Control Regime items that are generally Commerce-controlled, but are State-controlled if they meet certain parameters.

    Recommendation: To ensure that proposed exports of Missile Technology Control Regime items are subject to the appropriate review process, the Secretary of Commerce should ensure that, when a Regime item generally controlled by the Commerce Department becomes subject to the State Department's control if it meets certain parameters, the Commerce Control List specify those parameters and provide a cross-reference to the U.S. Munitions Control List.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The State Department has not updated the section of the U.S. Munitions List that identifies Missile Technology Control Regime items subject to its jurisdiction to ensure that the section is consistent with the current version of the Regime Annex. The State Department also has not provided cross-references to the Commerce Control List for Regime items meeting certain parameters.

    Recommendation: To ensure that proposed exports of Missile Technology Control Regime items are subject to the appropriate review process, the Secretary of State should update the section of the U.S. Munitions List that identifies the Regime items subject to the State Department's jurisdiction to ensure that it is consistent with the current version of the Regime Annex and provide a cross-reference to the Commerce Control List for those Regime items that would be subject to the Commerce Department's control when certain parameters are met.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

 

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